The 22nd annual Napa County Pruning Contest, organized by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, took place at Beringer's Gamble Ranch Vineyard, showcasing the exceptional skills of over 100 vineyard workers. Held on February 13, 2024, the event highlighted the importance of farmworkers in the wine industry and celebrated their contributions to the community.
A Tradition of Excellence: Napa's Pruning Contest
As the sun rose over the picturesque Napa Valley, vineyard workers gathered at Beringer's Gamble Ranch Vineyard, eager to demonstrate their mastery of pruning techniques. The annual Napa County Pruning Contest, now in its 22nd year, is a testament to the dedication and expertise of the region's farmworkers. This year, over 100 competitors from across Napa Valley participated in the event, which was organized by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation.
Manual Skill and Artistry on Display
Contestants pruned vines manually, without the aid of machinery, in a display of traditional techniques that are crucial to the health and productivity of the vineyards. Judges scored each competitor based on their pruning technique, quality, and efficiency. The top eight competitors in both the women's and men's divisions took home over $4,000 in cash, wines, and gifts.
Champions Crowned: Ana Mejia and Guadalupe Soriano
Ana Mejia from Trefethen Family Vineyards and Guadalupe Soriano from Atlas Vineyard Management claimed first place in the women's and men's divisions, respectively. Their exceptional skills and dedication to their craft earned them recognition as the best pruners in Napa County.
The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, established in 2011, supports Napa Valley's vineyard workers through education and professional development programs. The annual Pruning Contest is just one of the many ways the foundation seeks to highlight the importance of farmworkers in the wine industry and celebrate their vital contributions to the community.
As the Napa County Pruning Contest continues to grow, it serves as a reminder of the human element that drives the region's world-renowned wine production. The event not only showcases the skills of the workers but also fosters a sense of camaraderie and pride among the competitors.
In an era where technology often takes center stage, the Napa County Pruning Contest remains a testament to the enduring value of manual skill and artistry. For Ana Mejia, Guadalupe Soriano, and their fellow competitors, the event is more than just a competition; it is a celebration of their hard work, dedication, and the essential role they play in the Napa Valley wine industry.